Expectation vs Reality of Learning International Relation.

There are lots of reasons given by High School students when they were asked about choosing International Relation as their future university major, some of the most popular ones are to become diplomat and to travel overseas. However, is the International Relation major limited only to these reasons?

According to Elyzabeth Bonethe Nasution, S.I.P., M.A.–Head of Universitas Pelita Harapan (UPH) International Relation Department, International Relation is like glasses, it is a worldview. In this department, we are trained to think comprehensively, take every discipline in consideration; including politics, culture, economy, social, and many more, and also to make the world into a more diverse place.

UPH is one of the few private universities in Indonesia with an A-accreditation for its International Relation Department and three of its concentration programs: International Trade, Corporation and International Safety, and ASEAN and South East Asian Studies. International Relation UPH is the only university that has ASEAN and South East Asian as its concentration programs.

With all these choice and concentration programs in International Relation UPH, can UPH answer the needs of its students? Here are some reviews coming directly from the students of International Relation UPH.

Expectation vs. Reality

The vast scope of knowledge that International Relation UPH offers are did not go unnoticed by its students. Amanda Diella, (International Relation 2018) said that in the beginning, she only sees International Relation as an astonishing department and a promising department for her to become a diplomat or an ambassador.

“Aside from learning to become a diplomat and about various global issues, I got far more knowledge and skills than I expected during my studies here. In UPH, I learn that when we improve both our knowledge and skill, it becomes easier for us to apply it in our daily lives,” Amanda stated.

Similar point was made by Vanesha Violine (International Relation 2017), who currently serves as the Head of International Relation HMPS 2019/2020, and Jeanneriel Assah (International Relation 2018) who felt that they got far more knowledge beyond their expectation during their studies in UPH. When the two were still in High School, they see International Relation as a place where one learns about international politics. However, they realize that in UPH they got to expand their knowledge in other fields such as culture, social, law, and even international trade.

For Yohanes (International Relation 2017), who has never known about the ASEAN and South East Asian concentration before, it never crossed his mind that such a concentration would be very interesting.

“Turns out, this concentration is really unique. It has various substances that we might find if not in UPH and in this concentration, we get to enrich our global knowledge,” said Yohanes.

Various Career Opportunities

“In the beginning, I choose International Relation UPH because I want to be a diplomat and be a representative of Indonesia in another country, or maybe be a part of a governmental institution,” said Jean.

In reality, graduates of International Relation UPH are prepared to work in various fields, starting from diplomat, international relation analyst, South East Asian regional specialist, negotiator, reporter, Government Relation staff, Embassy staff, and many more.

According to Elyzabeth, there is a varied interest among the students of International Relation UPH. Aside from being diplomat, graduates of International Relation UPH also work in NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), become journalist, and even entrepreneur.

Developing Soft-Skills

The development of soft skills becomes a plus value for the graduates of International Relation UPH. One way in which students are able to develop their soft skills is through the Internal Organizations that is managed under HMPS (Department Student Association) which includes Model United Nations (MUN), Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia (FPCI) Chapter UPH, and International Relations Debate Club (IRDC).

“As students are equipped with such wholesome soft skills. For example, in MUN we are trained to understand the important aspects of moot court, and are guided to improve our public speaking and writing skill. In addition to that, FPCI Chapter UPH often invites interesting professional key speakers to talk about world issues,” said Amanda.

International Relation is indeed the right department for students who are interested in diplomacy and foreign government. However, through the stories from the students of International Relation UPH, hopefully High School students are able to understand the International Relation Department even better, especially the one in UPH.